News - WGBH News

The Slow Death Of The Color-Coded Terror Alert System

| April 28, 2015

A Security Mom Podcast

The much-maligned color-coded terror alert system was seen as a flawed not only by the public or late night comedians, but by those who worked at the highest levels of national security—including former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff.

You may remember that Chertoff served the Bush Administration until the day of President Obama's inauguration in 2009. Before he became the head of Homeland Security, he was in charge of the Department of Justice's criminal division during and after 9/11. This was the time of the Patriot Act—which he co-authored—and other dramatic additions to what he described as the "domestic architecture for preventing future terrorist attacks."

This week on Security Mom, Juliette Kayyem spoke with Chertoff about what was wrong with the system, so we might better understand the bigger challenges we confront in a world of mayhem—how to understand risk, and how to talk about scary things.

For more information on this publication: Please contact International Security
For Academic Citation: Kayyem, Juliette and Michael Chertoff. “The Slow Death Of The Color-Coded Terror Alert System.” News, WGBH News, April 28, 2015.

The Author

Juliette Kayyem Headshot


Michael Chertoff